|Fake phone bills scam central Illinois|
|Written by Olivia Gilbertsen, Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 14 February 2013 13:34|
A company is accused of scamming the central Illinois area by sending fake invoices.
There is a pending lawsuit that was filed in August by Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan.
Brian Funk, owner of Independent Telephone Services, a local equipment and maintenance service facility, said he has had multiple customers asking about the invoice.
“They are sending out maintenance contracts for usually $425 ,and it will lock you in for three years,” Funk said.
“It’s basically just a bogus phone bill and folks pay it because they don’t know the services they are actually getting,” he added.
Funk said it is important to not begin paying the phony company because once an individual does so, the money cannot be returned.
Madigan said the scam is focusing on businesses, schools, government agencies and residents.
In Madigan’s news release she stated the invoices falsely led customers to believe they had contracted with the California-based company for telephone maintenance services.
Funk explained this scam started almost two years ago with his customers in Iowa and Wisconsin.
He said the government is trying to stop it, but his local business is just attempting to get the word out about the scam.
“We get calls about scams like this almost daily. They are definitely out there. Some people will do almost anything to make a dollar,” Normal Lt. Paul Smith, commander of Investigations Division, said.
Smith said most of the time there is not much the police department can do. They look into the scams as much as possible however, a majority of the time it is based overseas.
Smith explained that people should be careful and question invoices that seem unusual. He said to not be afraid to question billing companies because once money is sent, it is difficult to recover.
“Students are also sometimes targets of these scams just for being students. They will be offered to get paid for work that seems too easy. For example, taking checks to ATMs or driving money to a different location. Bottom line, if it seems too good to be true it probably is,” Smith said.
“These people can be ruthless,” he added.
Smith said that if you feel you have received a fake invoice, call your local police department. However, the biggest thing he explained was to use resources available to you to investigate yourself.
“If it doesn’t seem right, you should question it. Many websites can tell you if it is a scam. Folks just need to be more cautious and aware,” he added.